“What? Over? Did you say "over"? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”A few weeks ago, after some heavy rains, a few bloggers and the media started to declare the Harvest of 2010 over. Fortunately for all of us, they couldn’t have been more wrong. It is somewhat hard to believe, but here I am, almost mid-November, with Cabernet still hanging out in the vineyard. Grape growing, heck, farming in general, after all is much like gambling.
--John Belushi as Bluto Blutarsky, Animal House
So I handed him my bottle
And he drank down my last swallow
Then he bummed a cigarette
And asked me for a light
And the night got deathly
quiet And his faced lost all expression
He said, "If you're gonna play
the game, boy
You gotta learn to play it right
You've got to know
when to hold 'em
Know when to fold 'em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you're sittin' at the table
There'll be time enough for countin'
When the dealin's done
Every gambler knows
That the secret to survivin'
Is knowin' what
to throw away
And knowin' what to keep
'Cause every hand's a winner
And every hand's a loser
And the best that you can hope for
Is to die in your sleep"
--The Gambler, Kenny Rogers
The Cabernet we left for now was “ok” by most standards a few weeks ago, but it
still needed more time to develop the incomparably beautiful color and intensity
of flavor that is expected of a Spring Mountain District Cabernet. After that
first rain, it was tempting just to go out and bring it in. After all, we were
already sitting looking at a “good hand”. The quality of this vintage has been
great, with intense colors and aromas…why not wrap it up early. After looking
hard at the long range forecast, we chose to “double down” and let it hang. Our
canopy still had mostly green leaves to it, so, we “let it ride”.
“Reverend, you've got balls as big as church bells.”
--Dabney Coleman as Jerry Caesar, Dragnet
Well, patience is definitely paying off. With temperatures at the top of Spring Mounain District in the upper 70s off and on the past week, and going into this weekend, more of the same, we have been dealt that magical fifth Ace into our hands. Sunday, we’ll start and finish our Petite Sirah (in all of 20 minutes…this is goes into a small wine club exclusive blend) and then move onto our Cabernet Sauvignon. Dad and I have observed no mildew in the vineyard, the sugars and acids are nicely balanced, and the color…did I mention the color? It’s been a long, drawn out harvest that definitely required careful farming and patience, but I believe, once it’s all in…in its own time…it is going to be a vintage to remember.
Until next time...
Andy Schweiger, Winemaker, Schweiger Vineyards
Follow me on Twitter: SchweigerWine